After a week in Orlando with a 12 and an 11 year old, we were really looking forward to boarding the Oasis of the Seas and the kids were almost bursting with excitement. We weren't disappointed! The boarding process was relatively painless, the staff and port officials being efficient, if a little humourless. We were quickly boarded and then needed to wait in the public areas whilst the cabins were cleaned and prepared. This was no bad thing but it would have been nice if a crew member had been on hand to explain the options.
Once we got to our cabin we were really quite impressed. Although small, the best use had been made of the available space and the bathroom was really well set out and equipped. Everything was clean, spotless even, and the cabin smelt fresh and clean. Disappointed there was no curtain to separate the kids sleeping area from ours. The wife was not impressed. The interactive TV was a disappointment as it didn't seem to work and navigating through the menus was slow and eventually pointless. This meant that we couldn't reserve tickets for the shows although most were just turn up and go anyway. We did miss the comedy shows which was a disappointment.
The ships restaurants were very good, the windjammer being our most popular venue as it suited our timetables and the kids were happy with the choice. The kids also visited the various venues around the ship where they could enjoy inclusive sandwiches, doughnuts and iced yogurt. My wife and I were happy with all the bars and found queuing hardly necessary at all. We also bought the drinks package for the kids which was well worthwhile. My wife and I ate out one night in the Chops Steak restaurant and were both very impressed by the food, speed and quality of service and the wine list. The decor was great too, made us feel like were were eating in a uptown New York restaurant. And the load Americans added to the image, which actually was great!
There was loads to do with plenty of space around the pools, the adults only Spa areas, the Flow-Riders with 4 lanes in total, 2 for beginners (US!) and 2 for experienced surfers. Although there were queues they went down reasonably and the staff were attentive and helpful. Slightly aggrieved that our youngest was pronounced tall enough in the morning but too small in the afternoon! Oh well, he got over it by spending time climbing up the rock climbing walls which were huge and great to watch. Bit too tricky for dad though!
Apparently the ship was sailing full but it didn't feel it, it always felt spacious and comfortable. All the queues went down quickly and there were always helpful crew members on hand to assist.
The activities also included ice skating, table tennis, crazy golf and arcade games. I'm sure there were many others but we didn't go any further with the sporty side of things.
The shows really were great, and the interaction with the crew and guests was fantastic. We entered several competitions and really did have fun. We also saw the Texas Tenors, winners of the Americas Got Talent competition. Very impressed and happy to see something we would otherwise never get chance to see.
The cruise director (a Brit) really let his hair down and always seemed to be doing something. If he wasn't on the TV doing 'spoof shows', he was on deck just being mad. All the shows were aimed at entertaining the masses and were extremely successful. It helped with the American attitudes of encouragement, usually sadly lacking in the UK. There was a fancy dress show for Halloween which we weren't made aware of prior to boarding but the American guests (80% of the guests) were obviously aware and made a great show of it. The whole experience was one we would definitely want to replicate with or without the kids. On such a large ship its easy to get away from the hustle and bustle.
My only concern is that on such a large ship, there will be limits as to where it can dock so the itinerary might suffer. But as an all action activity ship, with respite ares for kids, no problems!